The reading from the Letter to the Galatians in today’s liturgy reminds me vividly of what our novice director, Fr. Joe Sheehan, used to say when he administered the sacrament of reconciliation. He prayed that I would “put on the mind of Christ.” I was intrigued and deeply moved by that expression and later recognized the injunction as a key theme of St. Paul in his letters to the churches he founded.
In the letter to the Galatians Paul writes out of his wonderment and confusion that they were turning to the Law of Israel as opposed to their experience of the freedom of the Spirit of Christ as and impelling force of their faith. Originally pagans, the people of Galatia had their heads turned by persons called “Judaizers” who convinced them that if they were to become Christian, they must first become Jews and follow the Jewish Law completely. This was the opposite of what Paul had taught them: that faith in Christ offered them freedom from the observance of the law. For Paul the law was abrogated by the person of Christ, in his life, death and resurrection. Being baptized into Christ gives the one freedom from the law.
What Paul and Fr. Sheehan remind us of is the importance of becoming one with Christ, of our solidarity with Christ as the result of baptism. Christ is the “descendent” of Abraham Paul tells the Galatians in words just preceding today’s passage. The law, then, is merely preparation for Christ.
Lord, I pray today that I might make real in my life this most fundamental truth that I am ONE with Christ through baptism. Help me to grow in awareness of the consequences of that reality. Let me live out that solidarity in Christ that has been given as a gift. This gift, faith, allows me the freedom to imitate Christ. I seek to be “clothed” in Christ as St. Paul says. Let the “mind” of Christ be mine in all its wonder and freedom to serve others as an imitation of Christ. As Christ “poured out his life” for others, may I be similarly poured out as a reflection of the freedom and faith with which I have been gifted.
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